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Kicked-Up Caramel Apples



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Peanut Butter–Chocolate Caramel Apples
 with Honey Peanuts
By Aida Mollenkamp, chow.com

Total: 40 mins, plus chilling time
Active: 40 mins
Makes: 8 apples

“The name says it all: a sweet, salty, gooey, crunchy apple that’s sure to have
many fans."
What to buy: A reliable candy/fat thermometer is crucial for getting an accurate
read on the caramel. The crunchy texture and spicy-sweet flavor of Braeburn
apples work nicely with this particular caramel apple combination. But feel
free to substitute any locally grown apple with the same characteristics. Craft
sticks give these apples an authentic state-fair feel. Look for them next to the
apples in the produce section of the grocery store or order them online. If you
can’t find them, chopsticks will work in a pinch.
Game plan: You’ll have a bit of caramel left after dipping the apples, so try
making some soft caramels with the excess. To do so, pour the remaining
caramel into a parchment-lined, 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and, if desired,
sprinkle with sea salt. Let sit at room temperature until it’s set. Remove the
caramel from the pan and cut it into 1-inch pieces. ”

For the apples:
8 large Braeburn apples,
at room temperature
Peanut Butter–Chocolate Ganache,
(recipe follows) at room temperature
8 chopsticks or craft sticks

For the coating:
2 cups honey roasted peanuts,
coarsely chopped
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the apples: Wash the apples under hot water to remove any wax
coating, and dry thoroughly. Starting on the bottom, core the apples with
the smaller scoop of a melon baller. Reserve the bottom “plugs” of the
apples. Continue coring up to the top inch of the apples (you just want
all the seeds removed). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and
set aside.
Stuff the apples with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the ganache, then close
with the reserved apple plugs to seal. Push the sticks through the stem
ends of the apples, and set the apples on the baking sheet.
For the coating: Place peanuts in a shallow dish; set aside. Prepare an
ice water bath by filling a bowl halfway with ice and water. Combine
the remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil
over medium-high heat. Cook until mixture registers 250 degrees F on
a candy thermometer, about 10 to 15 minutes. Immediately dip the
bottom of the saucepan in the ice water bath and let it chill until the
bubbles have subsided, about 1 minute. Stir until stiff caramel from
the bottom is in- incorporated into the warm caramel on top. Remove
from the water bath.
Dip the stuffed apples one at a time into the caramel, rotating once to
coat 3/4 of the way up the sides. Lift each apple straight up from the
caramel, letting the excess drip back into the pot until the drips have
slowed, about 10 to 15 seconds.
Roll the apple in the peanuts, and hold upright for 10 to 15 seconds.
Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining
apples. (If the caramel gets too hard to coat the apples well, set the
pan over low heat and rewarm, stirring constantly, until the caramel
is loose and pourable.)
Refrigerate the apples until set, at least 10 minutes. The apples can
be made and stored in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance.

Peanut Butter–Chocolate Ganache
Aida Mollenkamp, chow.com

Total: 10 mins
Active: 10 mins
Makes: 1 cup

"Usually found in candies and ice cream, this classic pairing here becomes
ganache that can be eaten as is or used to stuff caramel apples."
Game plan: This ganache can also be used as a tart filling (pour the
just-made mixture into a baked tart shell), or turned into truffles (let
the ganache set up, scoop it out with a melon baller, and roll in
cocoa powder).

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate,
coarsely chopped
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine chocolate and peanut butter in a small heatproof bowl; set aside.
Combine cream and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Pour cream over chocolate mixture and let
sit until chocolate is mostly melted, about 2 minutes.
Stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth. Use as desired.

Kicked-Up Caramel Apples continues...

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